Michael Galvan Wants to Go to Trial ... Quickly

Cold case suspect says put up or shut up to District Attorney's Office

Michael Galvan
Michael Galvan

Michael Galvan has been in the Travis County Jail since May 24, when he was indicted for the 1979 cold case murder of 19-year-old Debra Sue Reiding – and now he'd like to get on with things. The 65-year-old has a pretrial hearing on Thursday, Oct. 25, so that District Judge Brad Urrutia can consider whether to grant his motion for a speedy trial, one argued largely on the grounds that if it took Austin Police and the Travis County District Attorney's Office 38 years to build a strong enough case to charge Galvan with capital murder, they ought to be ready to show it.

According to Galvan's attorney Amber Vaz­quez Bode, the deaths of witnesses (including the cops who worked the crime scene) and fading memories of surviving ones have left little time for authorities to continue to bolster their case, and Galvan would like to put to rest the anxiety that comes with awaiting charges. Galvan has always been a suspect; he and Reiding worked together at the Montana Mining Company, and he was questioned by APD on the day after her death. His re-emergence as the primary suspect evolved over a five-year period: APD obtained a discarded toothpick containing his DNA in April of 2013, and matched it to a semen sample found on the robe Reiding was wearing at the time of her death last August.

Bode doesn't deny that the semen could be Galvan's; since his indictment, Galvan has claimed that the two were having an affair, and he has not matched with the DNA found on the bandanna used to bind Reiding or with a male sample found in her rectum (presumably her husband's). Further, she's increasingly concerned about a set of "psychic notes" assessing Galvan's "psychological makeup and culpability in this case," put forth by the state during discovery, which were written in 2006 by "self-styled psychic, clairvoyant, 'remote viewer,' and part-time wizard" Gharith Pendragon (which is basically "Smith" for wizards), who passed away on Jan. 21, rendering him no longer able to be cross-examined "on any plane – earthly, spectral, or otherwise."

Travis County Assistant District Attorney Keith Henneke rejected the notion that the state's case is "in any way based on information provided by Mr. Pendragon" and continues to be "very confident in the strength of its case." He said concerns over how well evidence can hold up over 40 years "is taken into account when cases are evaluated prior to being presented to a grand jury."

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Michael Galvan, Amber Vazquez Bode, Debra Sue Reiding, Brad Urrutia, Gharith Pendragon, Keith Henneke

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